– Bucs rookie LB Grant Stuard – Photo courtesy of The Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs were back on the field on Tuesday for the team’s first OTA (organized team activity) workout, although it was far from the complete team attending. The practice started at 10:30 a.m. with temperatures in the mid-80’s although a nice breeze kept the two-hour session bearable.
Below are Pewter Report’s impressions from the practice.
Bucs Veterans Nowhere To Be Seen
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While the date has been on the calendar for a while, no one for sure knew exactly who was going to show up to the voluntary practice. Of the 22 starters from a year ago, none were in attendance on Tuesday, but Bucs head coach Bruce Arians said that was just fine.
Coach Arians saying the starters weren’t going to be allowed on the field for the OTA even had they showed up pic.twitter.com/snxzzpwcI3
Several of Tampa Bay’s veteran players, led by QB Tom Brady, worked out earlier this week at the Yankees minor league facility and didn’t participate in Tuesday’s practice at One Buc Place. However, the Bucs rookies were all in attendance and on the field except first-rounder Joe Tryon, who is still recovering from a minor knee procedure. While Tryon didn’t practice, he was with his defensive teammates on Tuesday, listening in to the coaching staff who worked with their new additions.
On the defensive side, rookie Chris Wilcox saw a lot of action at cornerback when the offense and defense went up against each other. Rookie linebackers Grant Stuard and K.J. Britt both were on the field, often at the same time. And both had a solid day, particularly Stuard who continued to impress Arians. The head coach complimented the rookie’s ability to process what he learned from rookie mini-camp earlier this month and then transfer that to the field this week.
Stuard has really stood out in the two practice sessions we’ve been able to attend. On Tuesday he had two pass breakups, one on the very first play in team drills. Later in the morning session he broke up a pass deep down the field intended for a tight end, getting rave reviews and cheers from his teammates on the sideline.
Hainsey A Five Position Player For The Bucs?
Another rookie the Bucs have been working hard is offensive lineman Robert Hainsey. The former Notre Dame standout was a tackle in college but on Tuesday was primarily playing center with some reps at left guard as well. Arians also pointed him out to the media following practice on Tuesday and said he has the ability to play all five offensive line positions including tackle if called upon.
John Molchon and undrafted free agent Sadarius Hutcherson also saw time at center on Tuesday. At 6-foot-4, 315 pounds, Hutcherson is a massive man and will push for a roster spot if he continues to pick things up and stays healthy moving forward.
Trask, Griffin Have Solid, Steady Practice
Neither veteran QB Ryan Griffin nor rookie Kyle Trask had any “wow” type throws on Monday. And both had good portions of practice, and some not so great. Neither showcased any cannon-type arm, which isn’t surprising, or really had many deep ball attempts. A majority of the passes thrown were within 20 yards.
Griffin was probably the better of the two, but is heading into his third year in the offense, so he just looks more comfortable overall. Griffin was more decisive with his throws, while Trask at times seemed hesitant to let the ball fly. Arians complimented both after practice however and said he was pleased with what he saw overall.
Miscellaneous Practice Notes
• Arians mentioned offensive lineman Brad Seaton following practice.
“I was really happy to see Brad Seaton back,” Arians said. “He opted out last year and he looks fantastic. He looked really good.”
• Rookie receiver Jaelon Darden is fast as we all know, but he was able to showcase his ability to cut, and stop and start on Tuesday – even more so than during the rookie mini-camp earlier this month. On one particular reception, Darden took a quick seam pass and made the defense looks silly as he cut on a dime and weaved in and out of the secondary without being touched. Darden was also fielding punts along with Jaydon Mickens during the first part of the practice on Tuesday morning.
• Another wide receiver was impressive on Tuesday as well. Second-year wide receiver Travis Jonsen was the best receiver on the day, showcasing an ability to run several different routes while also showcasing his hands. Jonsen used his big body and frame to box out smaller defensive backs at times on Tuesday while also creating separation with precise route running. While it will be an uphill battle to make the Bucs 53-man roster, Jonsen is trying to make it hard for the coaching staff to let him go.
• The Buccaneers didn’t announce the signing of new cornerback Dee Delaney until after practice on Tuesday but the former Washington, Miami and New York Jet saw plenty of action at left cornerback on Tuesday.
The next practice session open to the media is next Tuesday, June 1, also at 10:30 a.m.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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